These orange cinnamon rolls are super soft, fluffy, gooey, and have the most fragrant and zesty orange vanilla bean filling! The dough is an easy, no knead dough recipe that comes together quickly and is super soft and fluffy. These don’t have any cinnamon filling, but they’re formed like cinnamon rolls and have the same delightful gooey texture. There’s cardamom in the dough which brings out the warmth and citrus flavor. They also have an easy creamy orange cinnamon roll glaze! I’ve included overnight instructions so that you can make them at night and bake them fresh in the morning - perfect for Christmas and the holidays!
🍊 Why you'll LOVE this recipe
- Gooey: The heavy cream added right before baking makes these rolls super fluffy and gooey! You can dip them in the gooey, sticky sauce at the bottom after baking.
- Orange vanilla bean filling: These rolls have the most fragrant and zesty orange vanilla bean filling.
- Easy: This recipe is super easy to make, the hardest part is waiting for the dough to rise!
- Orange glaze: They have a sweet and creamy orange glaze cinnamon roll topping
📝 Key ingredients
Read through for all the tips you will need for success!
Full steps and ingredients in recipe card below.
- Activated dry yeast: I love using activated dry yeast for cinnamon rolls and breads. I think the flavor and outcome is better! Instant dry yeast will also work. Mix it dry right into the flour.
- Oranges: You’ll need both the zest and the juice of two oranges for the ultimate orange cinnamon rolls!
- Cardamom: Ground cardamom gives the dough a beautiful fragrant, warm flavor! It also makes the yeast more active so keep an eye on the rising dough. It may rise faster than usual.
- Vanilla bean: Rubbing the vanilla bean seeds and sugar together gives the filling the most incredible, unreal vanilla flavor. Especially combined with the beautiful orange flavor! If you can’t get a vanilla bean use vanilla bean paste. Make this mango coconut vanilla bean roll cake with any extra vanilla beans you may have.
- Butter: Using a good quality unsalted butter makes all the difference! If you’re using salted butter, omit the salt from the recipe.
- All purpose flour: Weigh the flour to get the most accurate results. If you don’t have a scale, measure properly by stirring the bag and spooning gently into a measuring cup. Scrape the excess off the top with the flat edge off a knife without packing it into the cup.
👩🍳 How to make orange glaze vanilla bean cinnamon rolls
No knead dough step by step
Step 1: In a medium bowl, stir together warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, and yeast until dissolved. Set aside for 8-10 minutes until a foam forms on top.
In a separate medium bowl, grate the orange zest. Juice the oranges and measure out ¼ cup of juice for the dough.
Step 2: In a large bowl, sift the flour and make a well in the middle. Add sugar, salt, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, cardamom, ¼ cup orange juice, milk, and yeast mixture.
Stir the mixture together to make a sticky dough. Cover and let it rise in a warm (not hot!) place until doubled in size about 30-45 minutes. Make the filling while it rises.
Orange vanilla filling step by step
Step 1: Split vanilla bean longwise and scrape out the seeds with a knife.
In a medium bowl, combine grated orange zest, sugar, and vanilla seeds. Rub together with your fingers until fragrant and moist.
Step 2: Add brown sugar and the softened (almost melted) butter. Mix together until smooth.
Assembly and orange glaze step by step
Step 1: Butter or oil your hands so the dough doesn’t stick. Pull up the edges of the dough, lift up and over the rest of the dough. Repeat 4 times.
Step 2: Grease an 8” by 12” rectangle pan with a bit of butter or spray. On a clean flat surface, dust a light layer flour then transfer the dough and roll out into a large rectangle.
Step 3: In an even layer, spread the orange filling onto the dough. Roll the dough, starting with the long side. Mark the roll into twelve pieces.
Step 4: Cut the rolls by wrapping a piece of string or unflavored floss around the dough and pulling it tight. Arrange in the greased baking pan.
Step 4: Let the rolls rise until puffed up, about 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C) in the meantime. Pour heavy cream over the rolls and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top.
Step 5: In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and cream. Add orange juice, one tablespoon at a time to get a glaze consistency.
Pour the orange glaze over the warm rolls and enjoy!
✔️ Expert cinnamon roll tips
- Dissolve the yeast in warm water with a bit of sugar first. This gives you the chance to check if it’s active. If it isn’t active, it won’t have a bit of foam on top and you’ll have to start again with a different batch of packet of yeast.
- Measure the flour properly: Weighing the flour will give you the best results! I recommend using a scale for the most accurate results. If you don’t have a scale, fluff up the flour with a spoon and spoon it into the measuring cup. Level the top of the measuring cup with the flat edge of a knife by scraping it off - don’t pack it in!
- Don’t over knead the dough: You only need to mix it together until it comes together. I love to use a Danish whisk - it makes the process so quick and easy!
- Use unflavored floss or string to cut the rolls: This helps prevent squish the rolls so that they stay beautiful and round.
- Don’t skip rising the dough: This allows the structure of the dough to develop, giving you beautiful soft and fluffy rolls.
🥄 Storing leftover rolls
These orange cinnamon rolls are best stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat them gently in the oven or microwave to make them soft and gooey again.
😴 How to make overnight orange cinnamon rolls
Make, cut, and place the rolls into the buttered baking dish. Don’t pour on the cream yet! Cover with a piece of wrap or a lid and seal tightly. Refrigerate immediately - it will rise in the fridge overnight. Don’t keep the rolls in the fridge for over 12 hours or they will be overproofed.
The next morning, take the rolls out of the fridge. If they haven’t risen at all, let them rise at room temperature for half an hour. From my experience, they usually rise enough in the fridge. When ready to bake, pour the cream over the rolls. You may need to add a few minutes to the baking time.
❔ Why these are the best orange cinnamon rolls
They’re so easy and simple to make, and the filling has the most magical flavor! Rubbing a vanilla bean with the orange zest and sugar in the filling creates the most unbelievable flavor combination. The vanilla is very sweet and floral, and the orange zest gives a zesty flavor. Together, they’re unmatched.
Don’t forget the cardamom in the dough! It adds a subtle warm and spiced flavor to the dough which is the perfect cozy pairing with vanilla bean and orange.
These cinnamon rolls are seriously perfect for Christmas morning, the holidays, and all year round!
📖 Recipe FAQs
Yes you can! Try lemon, or even blood oranges. I don’t recommend limes or grapefruit because the zest can be quite bitter.
I highly recommend using the vanilla bean because the flavor is unmatched. In a pinch you can use vanilla bean paste but it’s not the same.
You’ll have the vanilla bean pod leftover after scraping out the seeds. I collect them in an airtight jar and when I have 5-8 of them, I cover them with vodka or rum to make vanilla extract. Let sit for 4-5 months in a dark place so that the vanilla beans can steep and create a lovely homemade vanilla extract.
This could be due to a variety of reasons. Is your yeast active? Make sure a foam forms on top of the yeast mixture after dissolving it. If it doesn’t get foamy, try a new packet or batch of yeast. It helps to have the dough in a warm place to rise - like a closed turned off oven, beside a turned on oven, or by a sunny window. Just make sure it doesn’t exceed 130°F or 55°C because that will cook and kill the yeast!
The dough should be sticky when you first mix it together. It’ll come together as it rises and smooth out after rising. As the dough rests, the flour will hydrate and the dough will get thicker. You can add a bit more flour if it’s too sticky after rising.
No these rolls don’t actually have cinnamon. They’re shaped like them and have the same texture! I added vanilla bean instead of cinnamon and I really don’t miss the cinnamon. The flavor combination of cardamom, vanilla bean, and orange zest is unreal.
🍽️ More related recipes
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Orange Cinnamon Rolls
- 8" by 12" rectangle pan
- ½ cup water warm to the touch (not hot)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar or brown sugar
- 1 packet active dry yeast 7g, 2 ½ teaspoons
- 2 large oranges
- 5 cups all purpose flour 600g
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cardamom ground
- ¼ cup orange juice freshly squeezed from before
- ½ cup milk warm to the touch (not hot)
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar packed
- 1 vanilla bean
- ½ cup unsalted butter very softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons cream
- 3-4 tablespoon orange juice freshly squeezed from before
- Combine warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, and yeast in a medium bowl. Stir together to dissolve and set aside for 8-10 minutes until it forms a foam on top. If it doesn’t form, try another packet or batch of yeast.½ cup water, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, 1 packet active dry yeast
- Grate the orange zest into a separate medium bowl. Juice the oranges and measure out ¼ cup of juice for the dough.2 large oranges
- Sift the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and add sugar, salt, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, cardamom, ¼ cup orange juice, milk, and yeast mixture.5 cups all purpose flour, ⅓ cup granulated sugar, ⅛ teaspoon sea salt, ½ cup unsalted butter, 2 large eggs, 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons cardamom, ¼ cup orange juice, ½ cup milk
- Stir the mixture together to make a sticky dough. Cover and let it rise in a warm (not hot!) place until doubled in size about 30-45 minutes. Make the filling while it rises.
- Split vanilla bean longwise and scrape out the seeds with a knife.1 vanilla bean
- Combine grated orange zest, sugar, and vanilla seeds in a medium bowl. Rub together with your fingers until fragrant and moist.½ cup granulated sugar
- Add brown sugar and the softened (almost melted) butter. Mix together until smooth.¼ cup brown sugar, ½ cup unsalted butter
- Butter or oil your hands so the dough doesn’t stick. Pull up the edges of the dough, lift up and over the rest of the dough. Repeat 4 times.
- Lightly dust a clean flat surface with flour. Grease an 8” by 12” rectangle pan with a bit of butter or spray. Transfer the dough onto the surface and roll out into a large rectangle.
- Spread the orange filling onto the dough in an even layer. Roll the dough, starting with the long side. Mark the roll into twelve pieces.
- Use a piece of string or unflavored floss to cut the rolls by wrapping it around and pulling it tight. Arrange in the greased baking pan.
- Let the rolls rise until puffed up, about 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C) in the meantime. Pour heavy cream over the rolls and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top.½ cup heavy whipping cream
- Combine powdered sugar and cream in a medium sized bowl with a whisk. Add orange juice, one tablespoon at a time to get a glaze consistency.2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons cream, 3-4 tablespoon orange juice
- Pour the orange glaze over the warm rolls and enjoy!
- Dissolve the yeast in warm water with a bit of sugar first
- Measure the flour properly
- Don’t over knead the dough
- Use unflavored floss or string to cut the rolls
- Don’t skip rising the dough